Thursday, November 24, 2011

Interview with Published Author Calista Taylor

Today I have an interview with Calista Taylor an agented author. I say “agented author” as if it is a badge of pride. It is. (I am looking for an agent myself.) She has published two e-books. She is a Moderator at AQC, has her own blog and is a contributor to The Write Angle Blog. Yes a very busy lady and she was gracious enough to agree to an interview. So on the other side of my virtual mike is Calista:

Why did you choose to write steampunk?

I've always read stories that take place during the Victorian time period, so steampunk was a great fit. It let me explore writing in a time period I really enjoyed, but also allowed me the ability to be more creative and build my own world.

What are some of the challenges of writing steampunk?

I think the research can offer some challenges, depending on how historically accurate you decide to keep your story, but that's actually one of the advantages of writing steampunk versus a traditional historical-- it's your world to tweak and make your own.

How much research is required for your genre?

Since I've always read books that were placed in that general time period, a lot of it came naturally. As for the rest, there are so many incredible websites out there. But again, because you're creating your own world, it's really up to you how close you want to stick to being historically accurate.

You have three books in the works, two are e-books Viridis which is a free book, just download. The next book in the series is now available Death on a Sparrow's Wing. (This one is not a free book.) Fox Chapel Publishing will be releasing Everyday Steampunk craft book in the Spring of 2012. Three different methods of publishing. What are the pros and cons of each of your approaches?

I think the two ebooks need to be looked at as one approach to publishing. I released the first book for free, knowing many wouldn't take a risk on an unknown author. The hope was with no risk, they'd download the book if it sounded interesting. Then if they liked the first, they'd be willing to pay for the second. So far, this seems to be working pretty well. As for the third book, I think trying to self publish something that has so many pictures, would be a formatting nightmare for the novice. The con is the royalty rate is that of a traditional publishing deal, versus the much higher percentage that accompanies epublishing.

Do you have more stories in mind in the Viridis series? Any hints or spoilers you want to share?

Definitely!! As long as my characters are happy to keep chatting and getting into trouble, then I'm happy to write their story. As for hints and spoilers, I think we'll see more of the secondary characters as they tell their story.

Did your query letter work to get your agent?

I did indeed query my agent with my fiction novel. Unfortunately, that relationship dissolved when the agency changed the genres it was representing. As for my non-fiction agent, he approached me to take on the steampunk craft project after seeing the blog I posted on wearing the leather corset I made to a steampunk event.

Did you have beta readers for your steampunk books? Where did you meet your beta readers?
I've had several beta readers, in addition to critique partners. I've met most of them via Agent Query Connect.

For your self published works, how did you do the editing and proofing?

For Viridis, my agent went through multiple edits and proofing with me, in addition to my critique partners and betas going through the manuscript.

What do you have to say about the negative critiques Viridis has on Amazon?

I'll admit, some of the negative reviews have been frustrating. There are a couple reviews that commented on editing errors, when the truth of the matter is that I believe most of what they're referring to are stylistic choices, such as fragments, or clipped sentences, designed to stress a certain scene or emotion, or in some cases due to the style of language that I've tried to convey as being of that time period. I try to look at it objectively though-- I know my book isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, so I try my best to focus on the positive. It can be hard though.

How much time do you set aside for writing and research?

I tend to write every day for several hours. If I have free time, I write or edit.

How do you balance your life?

I find it's hard to get that balance right. I do have two young kids and a crazy dog, so they make sure I take time away from my lap top.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Just keep writing. It really is as simple as that.

What do you think the key to your success is?

I think I'm passionate about my writing, my characters and my stories, and I hope that comes across in my writing.

And there you have it. Calista has a website, a blog, and is a contributing writer for The Write Angle.

Calista Taylor is an agented author of steampunk/gaslight romance and non-fiction, with a steampunk romance series currently available, and a steampunk clothing craft book due out in May 2012.

She lives in New England with her husband, her two girls, an ancient cat and a crazy dog.

When not running things over with a sewing machine or lacing herself into a corset, Calista can be found tapping away on her laptop, tormenting her characters, and riddling the streets of Victorian London with dead bodies and heaving bosoms.

She's also a creative cook who can't follow recipes, a versatile crafter, and a happy geek.


Jennifer Merritt said...

Great interview!

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...


I just thought I'd point out I'm guesting Calista on my blog tomorrow morning, and pointing over to this posting.

Hope you'll drop over for a peak.

Have a great day.